After construction of the 32-story 461 Dean Street tower in Brooklyn, NY, took four years, Forest City Ratner is selling its modular building unit. The remaining three buildings set for the Pacific Park development will use conventional techniques, according to The New York Times.
Former Forest City executive Roger Krulak was named as the buyer of the company’s modular component factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Krulak was tapped to oversee the 461 Dean Street build-out after Forest City ran into production delays with original project partner Skanska.
- The tower is currently the world's tallest modular steel building, the Times reported.
Forest City Ratner was leading a growing chorus of support for modular construction for high-rise buildings, backing the system-built prefab strategy already in use for low-rise projects including hotels, schools and walk-up multifamily rental communities. Last month, the National Institute of Building Sciences, the Modular Building Institute and the Associated General Contractors of America heralded pre-fab at the Offsite Construction Expo in Washington, DC, even as the modular portion of the overall construction industry remains in the low single digits.
By building modular building units off-site while a project's foundational and structural elements are constructed, prefab can cut costs by 70 percent and construction times by a third, proponents say. In buying the Forest City modular unit, Krulak signaled that most of the issues leading to the four-year delay at 461 Dean Street have been overcome, telling the Times that modular is still the undisputed future of construction and development techniques.
The repetitive nature of apartment unit design seems particularly well-suited for off-site modular construction. The $40M Star Apartments in Los Angeles offers 102 modular units to former homeless individuals, and was expected to complete construction in 13 months versus the 18- to 22-month timeline of a traditionally built rental building. While Krulak sets his sights on a new modular height record in Singapore, 461 Dean Street is in full lease-up, featuring studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom luxury apartments with rents starting at $2,450 per month .